Tomoko Returns

photo, group of the week, george, tomoko, jim Scowls set aside, George, Tomoko and Jim.

Days of Wine and Horses

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 22. February:–  After so many mild days and some with blue skies, gentle breezes and first–class sundowns, we are coming to a short period of more fairly mild days, but without blue skies or technicolor sundowns that make the local visitors bureau dance in the streets.

I guess Father Winter, if he isn't going to give us freezing, has decided that some rain will do. It rained on me tonight and I am not the least bit happy about it. I had all the rain I deserve already. I remember it perfectly. Farmers may love it but that isn't anywhere around here.

Tomorrow will start off with a push of wet clouds from the west. If it only seems grey in the morning, well, the afternoon will be even worse. However the high might be 14 degrees, just as it has been for a while.

Saturday will feature a droopy rectangle of scummy weather covering the whole northwest quarter of France with occasional drops of rain but the temperature will be right up there with a lucky 13 degrees.

photo, beer of the weekThe Beer of the Week.

On Sunday, for the Chinatown parade, it will be cooler with a forecast of 11 degrees. Skywise there will be a vast wave sweeping from west to east and by the time the parade starts in the 13th arrondissement it may be past. At least it seems unlikely to be as cold as a brass monkey. It will be more like a roast pig. Yum.

The Days of Wine and Horses Report

I was sitting at home minding my own business on Tuesday when my nose started to dribble. I sneezed violently 14 times. I shuddered, I shook, leaks appeared all over my head, and I started using a roll of toilet paper to wipe up the mess. It was hopeless, this Monoprix toilet paper. It must be a cheap recycled variety.

I don't get colds as a rule so when I do they are violent, as sort of a payback for all the ones I don't get. The last one I had was two months ago and it was typical. The same kind of violence, but it lasted 36 hours and then it was gone as if it had never been. It must have been a warning.

Which is what this is. My head is full of... stuff, soggy stuff. I want to lie down. At the club meeting today I didn't let anybody shake my hand. I said, "I got a code in my node," and everybody scooted their chairs further away and waved.

photo, jim, george, at the meeting of the weekAn incomplete Group of the Week.

Actually this wasn't everybody because only Jim Donatelli was there right at the beginning. Jim comes to the club about once a year, from New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. If it hasn't already been, it is a City of the Week now. I'm too raddled to look it up.

We talked about all the usual stuff – like what it's like to have Amish folks for neighbors, like how gambling is setting up its tents everywhere in the land so people can do something more exciting than bingo – poker on TV – which reminded us of other great sports programming such as bowling, tennis and golf.

I mean, for all I know this stuff is a staple of French TV and I am just too stupid to be able to get more than three and a half channels. No, French TV has things like how to become a millionaire by cooking so good that a tire company gives them stars. A lady cook got some the other day.

Jim told me about his horses. He has four. One he bought used from those Amish folks. It was 16 years old, without a grey hair. Now it is 28 years old. Jim is a game warden in Pennsylvania so I guess he has horses instead of a dirty SUV.

Then George Broadhead wandered in, without his daughter. She got her lost luggage back so she decided to get back across the Atlantic while things were still looking up. George didn't appear to be too upset about it but it was hard to tell. Jim wondered aloud about Tomoko and where she is.

photo, cafe of the week The only Café of the Week.

At this stage with all the politesse out of the way we were able to get down to guy–talk, which turned out to be about horseshit. Jim said he had talked to his wife back home and she told him what a tough job he was missing by being in Paris fooling around, instead of cleaning up after four horses.

Which reminded George about his days as a horseman in Brooklyn when he looked after a whole stable before and after school and everybody who was in his class remembers him smelling like horseshit. He said he didn't start to smell like other people until he joined the Marines.

But that sounded like it was the life – being a horseman on the prairies in Brooklyn. As George was describing the stable owner Tomoko Yokomitsu walked up and joined us. The first thing I did wa I forgot that Tomoko had become Yoko but maybe she has too.

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